Formed in 1996, Skeleton Key made an immediate impression on the underground with its nonlinear approach to the art of noise. Its debut, an eponymous EP issued the same year, tossed every available dissonant clang and clatter into a sonic kitchen sink that was already overflowing with propulsive robopop and junkyard metal. A year later, the outfit's major-label debut, Fantastic Spikes Through Balloon
, was heralded as little short of revolutionary, garnering critical raves and a Grammy nomination.
The Key toured for two years without a break, then fell to pieces. Following a five-year studio hiatus, the band resurfaced with the epic noisemaking of Obtainium, issued by Mike Patton's Ipecac label in 2002. Though the album might be the quartet's most accessible to date, Skeleton Key continues to meat-grind pop progressions through a noise-plagued filter. In concert, these carefully plotted recordings evolve into a full-tilt art-house boogie that's as pleasurable as it is just plain weird.